The Korea Herald


Ruling party leader steps down

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : Dec. 13, 2023 - 18:11

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People Power Party Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon attends a meeting at the National Assembly on Dec. 11. (Yonhap) People Power Party Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon attends a meeting at the National Assembly on Dec. 11. (Yonhap)

The leader of the ruling party announced his resignation on Wednesday, expressing hopes that his decision would help unify the party ahead of next year’s general elections.

People Power Party Chairman Kim Gi-hyeon released a statement saying that he would step down from his current position, a day after a fellow party bigwig announced he also would not run in the elections.

“I take full responsibility for the situation our party is currently in,” Kim said in his statement.

“Our party should no longer be divided because of my actions.” .

Kim has been absent from the public eye since Rep. Chang Je-won, a close aide of President Yoon Suk Yeol and a conservative heavyweight, decided to refrain from running for a seat in the 2024 general election. Chang was the first among the ruling party elite to opt out, in a move interpreted as support of internal party reforms to win back voter trust.

Kim has served as the ruling party leader for nine months.

Kim’s announcement comes 40 days after the now-disbanded ruling party reform committee suggested Yoon’s close aides and party heavyweights either refrain from entering next year’s election or from vying for parliamentary seats in the conservative party's strongholds.

The announcement also falls in the same week of the official kickoff of the candidacy registration period for the upcoming election.

The reform committee’s plans had caused an intraparty rift, with some heavyweights blatantly refusing to heed to its requests. The committee disbanded last week, with its leader Yohan Ihn stating that the committee's job was only "half done."